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Glass Rainbows

visit store madeit designer spotlight GlassRainbows

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Denise and I am a mother of three young boys (almost 8, 4 and 20 months) living in Brisbane. I am originally from England but came to Australia 10 years ago on a Backpacking holiday and met my husband in Brisbane. Before children I was a registered nurse but when my first son was born I wanted to find a career where I could work from home. At one point I thought that I wanted to become a photographer, and I studied photography for two years but by the end I decided that I didn't want a career in it. As my eldest son grew, I found I needed to express my creative side and searched for things that I thought I might enjoy.

I decided to do some fused glass courses and I taught myself beading and the art of making polymer clay beads and started selling my jewellery at local markets. I later taught myself how to make resin jewellery which is now one of my great passions! Making jewellery started off as a hobby and a way to express myself so that I didn't lose myself being 'mummy' but it has now grown into my new baby! It is only in the last 12 months or so that I have completely thrown myself into my business and the hard work is now paying off.

madeit designer spotlight GlassRainbows

Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?

My main and most popular line of jewellery are my resin rings and unique style pendants. I love to use gold, silver and copper flake in my designs and I love bright and bold colours as well as making subtle, elegant pieces. I also make polymer clay necklaces and dichroic glass pendants and earrings. I am currently moving into using Eco, more sustainable products with new designs being released in the very near future.

Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?

I get my inspiration from everywhere. My resin pendant shapes are inspired by nature with raindrops, clouds, and wave shapes. My clay designs are inspired by the seasonal colours and my glass work is usually picked by my mood! My creative process involves having the idea, drawing my designs and then having to wait until my children are in bed before I can work on actually making them. When it comes to new resin designs, I have to design my mould and then I have the moulds custom made by my Dad all the way in England!

How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?

I have always enjoyed making and I enjoyed art and wood & metal work, textiles and photography at school (I even had my own make shift dark room when I was 18). I believe my passion for jewellery craft came from trying to express myself after having children which later developed into a passion. I still also find photography enjoyable and I like styling my finished products and photographing them.

How did you come up with your business name?

My business name Glass Rainbows came from my love of colour and the glass work that I began my business with. Although my business has evolved from just making glass jewellery I feel the word 'glass' describes the visual quality of many of my resin designs.

What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?

My online resources include having three websites including my Madeit shop which helps me be 'out there' and get my products noticed. I also attend a local market and have my jewellery in a few handmade shops around the country. Building good relationships with stockists and fellow market stall holders is great for support. I also have a great online community of friends on Instagram where we all support each other's handmade businesses. Being part of the Madeit sellers group has been great for helpful tips! I am also a great fan of 'create and thrive' and have found the information on building an online business absolutely invaluable.

What's your best advice for someone starting up?

Don't give up. It took me a really long time to make my first sale online (months, I believe!) It is only in the last 12 months or so that my business has really taken off and that is because I put in a lot of hard work. You need to be very active on social media, promoting your store and building relationships with other creative types is great for support.

Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?

Having great photos is a must. Looking back, when I first started selling online my photos were terrible! There are great apps out now which can help if you struggle with taking photos and Instagram has a fantastic range of filters to make your products stand out. Most sellers seem to agree that having a white background is the best for photos but it doesn't have to be, and I rarely ever use one. I think you should do what suits your brand.

Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?

Yes. Learning to run a business is very different to making jewellery as a hobby. When I first started my business I only made 'one of a kind' items. I have learned that to make my business successful I have needed to change my approach. The whole process of photographing every new item, editing and listing each one is so long. I decided that I needed to find items that I could reproduce in a similar way and develop a core product range. In this way, when an item sells it can be easily re-listed. I still enjoy making 'one of a kind' items but I see these as 'extras' in my store which compliment my core products.

I have worked really hard on making my jewellery unique and establishing my brand. I now style my products so that my jewellery is uniquely recognisable as my work. I think this is essential as jewellery is a competitive market and many people make similar items to each other. Differentiating yourself from the crowd is difficult but critical and it took me a long time to do this! I also think that it is important to remember that nothing is 'new' but taking a different approach to make your items different to everyone else's is what will make you stand out.

What do you like to do besides creating?

I love to travel which I don't do often enough these days! I am hoping to have a short trip back home to visit family by the end of this year which I am very excited about. I also enjoy being active, I enjoy walking and would love to have more time to go to yoga.

What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website, app?

I don't listen to a lot of music, instead, while I work I enjoy listening to pod casts which help me with business planning and marketing including 'create and thrive' and other Australian small business podcasts.

Tv shows I currently enjoy include master chef, I often get sucked into competitive shows like this!

My favourite films include Love Actually, Bridget Jones, and the classics I grew up with like Indiana Jones and Back to the Future! I really enjoy films and love to go to the cinema. Current favourites include the Divergent series.

I love to read and one of my favourite books is 'A thousand splendid suns' by Khaled Hosseini. Recent great books I have read include 'the girl on the train' and 'the husband's secret'.

My favourite Website would have to be create and thrive!

Phone apps I use: Instagram is my favourite, I also use the Facebook app for my business page.

What would be your perfect day?

My perfect day would begin with a lie-in past 6 am! and breakfast and coffee in bed! Then I realise than I am actually on a relaxing holiday somewhere by a beautiful beach, all the while some one at home takes care of cleaning my house!

Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?

Little Skipper - One of my all time favourite sellers is Eleven Roosters, gorgeous contemporary designs with beautiful fabrics.

Glass Rainbows visit store

9 June 2015